“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Preferences and expectations are changing and growing among consumers just as quickly as advancements in technology, encouraging (if not demanding) that brands embrace a strategy of non-stop adaptation to the next generation and the next big thing.



Here are 20 expert predictions affecting the near future of customer service and the customer experience, with the first originally made in 2012, already realized:

1. The personal cloud will replace the PC as the center of our digital lives sooner than you might think: 2014. ~Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing 2012

2. 70% of businesses are anticipated to use social media as part of their customer service programs by mid-2014. ~ Aberdeen Group

3. Global smartphone use will reach 2 billion by 2015. ~ Bloomberg

4. Companies will spend about $900 million on mobile processes reinvention services in 2013, a number that will more than triple in 2014, and continue to rise in 2015. ~ Forrester

5. By 2015, the marketing budget allocated to retaining customers and increasing loyalty through customer service will more than double. ~ Gartner Predicts 2012: CRM Customer Service and Support Staggers into the Posthuman Age

6. By 2015, one-way participation in content will decline to under 20%. The consumer will gain even more control and choice over content. ~ Google Insights Route to 2015

7. Through 2015, 80% of multichannel implementations will fail because retailers will retain channel and product-centric strategies. ~Garter Top Industry Predicts 2012: Industries Face Intensified Consumerization and Technology Disruption

8. The number of mobile social network users in the U.S. will grow from 58.5% in 2012 to 79.1% by 2015. ~ U.S. Mobile Social Network Users Expected to Double by 2015 – eMarketer

9. By 2015, there will be more people accessing the web using a mobile device than a wireless computer.  ~ IDC Worldwide New Media Market Model Forecast

10. By 2016, more than half of the dollars spent in U.S. retail will be influenced by the web. ~ Forrester U.S. Cross-channel Retail Forecast, 2011 – 2016

11. Worldwide business-to-consumer (B2C) m-commerce spending will grow six fold between 2011 and 2016, reaching $223 billion by the end of 2016. ~ IDC Worldwide New Media Market Model Forecast

12. Mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop search by 2016 ~ BIA/Kelsey Report, 2012

13. The number of social network users around the world will rise to 1.73 billion in 2013. By 2017, the global social network audience will total 2.55 billion. ~eMarketer Worldwide Scoail Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparitive Estimates

14. The customer of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive. They will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs. ~ Customers 2020 Report

15. There will be 15 billion digital devices connected together by 2020. ~ Gartner

16. By 2020, the pace of technological innovation will have accelerated even more and mastery of new technology platforms will define the retail winners of tomorrow. ~ PwC Retailing 2020: Winning in a Polarized World

17. By 2020, the need for a unified consumer omni-channel experience will be complicated by the need for nearly perfect execution. However, expert use of business intelligence tools, coupled with a profound understanding of shoppers‘  needs and experiences in real time, may make omni-channel a realistic goal. ~ PwC Retailing 2020: Winning in a Polarized World

18. By 2020, smart phone applications will proactively inform a shopper regarding specific issues with products or retailers upon entering a retailer‘s brick-and-mortar store or using its website. Brand management by 2020 will need to develop a host of new skills, tools, and communication modes, both nimble and innovative, than are typical today. ~ PwC Retailing 2020: Winning in a Polarized World

19. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. ~ Customers 2020 Report

20. To be relevant in 2020, companies must focus on leveraging big data to create a single source of truth and making customer intelligence accessible throughout the enterprise. Companies must consider “insight generation” as a sales enablement function and emphasize proactive and personalized customer support to effectively grow and retain customers. ~ ~ Customers 2020 Report

Photo credit: Defender Direct

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